The intersection of hospitality and technology is evolving at a rapid pace. To keep a pulse on these trends, Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine launched a MRM #RestaurantTech column. To submit items, contact MRM Executive Editor Barbara Castiglia at email@example.com.
Taffer Partners with Harbortouch POS
Jon Taffer, executive producer and host of Spike TV's hit show Bar Rescue, formed a comprehensive partnership with Harbortouch. Taffer has officially endorsed the company's touchscreen POS systems and will collaborate with Harbortouch to develop the industry’s first “smart” POS (sPOS) system. The collaboration will enable Harbortouch to integrate powerful revenue generating tools, based on Taffer’ s extensive industry experience, into the company’s Elite POS systems.
Harbortouch CEO Jared Isaacman explains how the partnership came about: “We really challenged ourselves to develop something truly game changing. We have already built the best POS system with the best technology and at the best price point, but we wanted to see if we could go a step further and do something entirely unique by helping our customers generate more revenue. We wanted to leverage the power of our industry-leading POS technology to help our merchants make more money. As the leading authority in the bar and restaurant industries, we knew that Jon Taffer would be the perfect partner to help pioneer this smart POS technology.”
"POS systems are the backbone of any business, but their major benefits have always been about efficiency,” said Taffer. “In my experience, I find Harbortouch’s POS solution to be the best in the industry. Their POS system is unparalleled in terms of both price and capabilities, the two elements most critical to any small or mid-sized businesses’ success. I am proud to integrate my proven tools for increasing revenue with their best-in-class system and bring the first truly smart POS system to market."
Founded in 1999, the company has served more than 325,000 merchants and currently processes in excess of $12 billion annually. A six-time Inc. 500/5000 honoree, Harbortouch has been widely recognized for its innovative and disruptive POS and payment solutions.
Upserve Launches Restaurant Tech Marketplace
Upserve launched Upserve Marketplace, a single hub for unifying the widest array of technology solutions restaurateurs rely on with a single management platform. Encompassing a range of restaurant needs -- staffing, inventory, accounting and more -- Upserve Marketplace launches with more than a dozen industry leaders including Homebase, PeachWorks, Bevager and several other partners.
While restaurants have more choices than ever when it comes to technology, but are tired of having their systems and data disconnected. Legacy technologies don’t talk to each other, resulting in more clutter and less efficiency inside the restaurant. Upserve Marketplace cuts through the clutter. Upserve and its partners are able to communicate seamlessly so restaurants get a single platform to manage every aspect of their business. Restaurateurs get an easier-to-use system so they can spend their time on delivering outstanding hospitality, not technology.
“For years restaurateurs have been stuck with expensive, proprietary, 1990s-era technology that’s difficult to use and doesn’t play nice with others,” said Angus Davis, Founder and CEO of Upserve. “In 2017, it’s high time restaurateurs can expect modern, open solutions to operate seamlessly in harmony. Whether it’s inventory, scheduling or accounting, with Upserve’s app marketplace, restaurateurs can now spend less time trying out for a cameo role on Geek Squad and more time focused on what actually matters: delighting guests with great hospitality.”
Upserve Marketplace is the one-stop-shop for every aspect of running a restaurant, spanning a number of categories such as employee and workforce management, accounting, restaurant management, inventory management, capital/expansion financing, data security and gift card administration. Current integration partners include Square Capital, Homebase, Bevager, PeachWorks, Restaurant365, 7Shifts, Dolce, Shogo, Better Chains, Compeat, Orca, The Customer Connection and TrustWave.
“Restaurant owners, managers, and employees are buried with time-consuming paperwork on a daily basis,” said John Waldmann, co-founder and CEO of Homebase. “This partnership helps us offer optimized schedules and real-time labor cost management to Upserve customers like the 60,000 businesses we already serve. With better team management tools like those we provide, restaurateurs get back control of their time and are able to do more of what got them into business in the first place - delivering great food and service to their customers.”
"We are thrilled to partner with Upserve and be a part of the Upserve Marketplace,” added Jeff Schacher, Founder and President of PeachWorks. “PeachWorks is dedicated to making our restaurant customers successful and our integration with Breadcrumb Point of Sale by Upserve is key to that success. By leveraging the data from Breadcrumb POS, PeachWorks can help our joint customers see real reductions on food and labor costs, increasing profitability."
"Inventory management has been painfully manual, spreadsheet-based, but Bevager and Foodager streamlines bar and kitchen ordering, inventory and costing," said Samuel Zats, CEO of FNBTech. "Our direct integration speaks directly with Breadcrumb POS by Upserve to deliver real-time perpetual food and bar inventory and point of sale analytics to Upserve customers. The result is hours in saved time from manual work as well as improved pour and food costs, so customers can focus on their craft.”
Harri and ADP Form Alliance to Combat Turnover
To aid hospitality client in finding and retaining talent, Harri and ADP formed a natural alliance that is also designed to help restaurant owners across the country with labor cost management and drastically reducing the time of the hiring process.
For the first time since the ‘Great Recession’, staff turnover rates for the Leisure-and-Hospitality sector topped 70 percent. This means that bars, hotels and restaurants are having to recruit and train an almost entirely new workforce every year, placing a huge burden on HR departments and driving up profit-squeezing administrative costs.
The new integration between Harri and ADP® clients was designed to keep costs down while freeing-up HR teams’ time. Harri’s suite of hospitality-specific recruitment and workforce management tools has been integrated into ADP Workforce Now®, ADP’s leading HCM platform for midsized businesses. In combining the two offerings, the companies have created a one-stop-shop solution that gives clients full control and visibility over every stage of the employee’s lifecycle: from recruitment, onboarding, employment, to retirement.
Harri’s solution has already been shown to help greatly reduce companies’ hiring costs. In one case study, the Altamarea Group’s hiring expenses fell by 48 percent and its time to hire fell by 68 percent. Now, with a combined Harri and ADP solution, HR teams will stand to achieve even greater efficiencies by no longer spending time coordinating independent systems or moving complex and sensitive employee data between them.
Once ADP Workforce Now clients download the Harri app from the ADP® Marketplace, a cloud-based app store designed to help employers manage an ecosystem of enterprise applications from ADP, they will also benefit from:
- Seamlessly onboarding new hires to payroll: As new employees are hired and on-boarded, organizations can send employee records to ADP directly with a single click.
- Reducing data errors with employee data sync: With automatic syncing between Harri and ADP platforms, clients can fluidly manage employee information.
- Eliminating unneeded systems: Harri’s app can perform the functions of as many as 10 different recruitment and talent management systems, meaning ADP Workforce Now clients can reduce the number of independent solutions they use.
“In the hyper-competitive hospitality industry, finding and keeping great talent is more important than ever,” said Luke Fryer, CEO and founder of Harri. “By combining our solution with ADP Workforce Now, we’re giving operators and HR professionals access to tools that will fundamentally change the way they find, hire and manage talent, while still having direct access to their payroll and benefits system of record.”
NoHo Hospitality Group has already adopted the combined Harri and ADP solution across its 10 properties of more than 1,100 employees. Kelly Perkins, Director of HR for NoHo Hospitality Group, said: “The Harri and ADP platform has streamlined all of our HR related activities while saving us time and money. Our new hires and employees actually enjoy interacting with the digital onboarding system, which eliminates manual entry and the inevitable errors that come with it. Our managers appreciate the transparency and access to information that this integrated solution has provided.”
Additional restaurant and hospitality groups that have leveraged the unified Harri and ADP solution include Nando’s, CAVA, Mercer Street Hospitality and ThinkFoodGroup.
“The realities of rising wages and higher staff turnover have become mission-critical issues for hospitality businesses,” said Don Weinstein, ADP chief strategy officer. “Our integration with Harri enables businesses with a single HR platform to access workforce data, securely integrate other applications, and utilize developer resources to enhance their existing solutions, so they can correct underlying inefficiencies and ultimately succeed.”
Toast Gets Punchh
Toast announced a partnership and integration between its Restaurant POS and Punchh’s Restaurant Marketing Cloud ™ to deliver engagement, loyalty and unmatched customized restaurant experiences. Through the agreement, Punchh will provide restaurant operators with access to real-time consumer information gathered at the point-of sale, enabling them to create and launch personalized campaigns across multiple channels, including mobile devices.
Punchh’s clients include more than 75 leading restaurant chains such as Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, El Pollo Loco, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Pieology, Quiznos and Smashburger. The Punchh integration is aimed to make users’ restaurant operations simpler.
"Toast continues to expand its API Partner Program, a best-in-class partner ecosystem, giving our customers access to powerful tools in order to streamline operations and grow revenue," said Chris Comparato, CEO of Toast. "Our partnership with Punchh is another example of how Toast enables restaurants of all sizes with robust tools to create the perfect guest experience.”
Through the integration with Punchh Restaurant Marketing CloudTM, Toast Restaurant POS users will be able to deliver personalized, digital experiences to consumers that will:
- Drive customer engagement through any channel including point-of-sale, kiosk, mobile apps and website;
- Leverage point-of-sale data gathered at any consumer touchpoint;
- Personalize marketing across traditional and emerging channels;
- Increase consumer engagement and build loyalty through personalized offers, ordering, payments, feedback, surveys, gift cards, games and more; and,
- Track performance in real-time.
“We are thrilled to partner with Toast, the leading provider of technology for point-of-sale and managing restaurant operations,” said Shyam Rao, CEO of Punchh. “By combining their technology with our best-in-class Restaurant Marketing Cloud, restaurants will be able to deliver superior customer experiences while increasing growth and profitability.”
Toast offers advanced functionality to manage the day-to-day operations of the restaurant, including quick menu modifications, real-time enterprise reporting and labor management on an easy-to-use interface. The platform also features revenue-driving tools including physical and digital gift cards, loyalty programs and online ordering.
This new partnership was designed to create a "one-stop-shop" solution that gives restaurant managers and owners full control of the employee lifecycle. The new software integration also allows for seamless onboarding of new employees to payroll, ease and fluidity of managing employee information, and the elimination of unneeded and superfluous HR management systems.
QikServe Rolls Out Kiosk Application
QikServe rolled out a new solution for hospitality businesses that are looking to implement kiosk-based ordering and payment systems. The QikServe Kiosk Application is latest addition to QikServe’s suite of ordering and payment solutions, which also includes mobile, tablet and web-based applications.
The QikServe Kiosk Application gives operators a flexible, customizable platform for building their own self-service system. Operators combine brand logos, colors and images with QikServe’s intuitive user interface to deliver a unique self-service kiosk customer experience. Adding and updating product images, food and drink descriptions or relevant up-sell and cross-sell options, can all be easily managed by operators within the app.
The QikServe Kiosk Application allows operators to capture guest data insights to intelligently optimize in-house operations, such as number of visits, most popular locations and kiosk positions, typical order spend, most ordered meals or successful upsells, peak self-service hours by day, week or month and more. This data can help operators optimize menus for greater spend and to provide enhanced experiences and services based on usage data.
“Kiosks offer hospitality operators more than just a new ordering option – they support operational efficiency by helping reduce queues and can provide eye-catching digital signage opportunities,” said Daniel Rodgers, CEO, QikServe. “Adding to our existing applications in mobile and web-based ordering our Kiosk Application provides operators with a fast, cost-effective way to implement self-service ordering using our purpose built screen flows and interface design that are designed to deliver great user experiences.”
QikServe’s Kiosk Application can be installed on any kiosk hardware running the widely used Universal Windows Platform, enabling secure, PCI-compliant payments via an integrated card-reading terminal that can be configured to accept payments types including Android Pay, Apple Pay, Chip and Pin, mag stripe and NFC Contactless.
chatterbox, a new application designed to simplify business operations for caterers by providing software that allows clients to focus on what matters—their cooking and their customers, debuted. The catering industry was predicted to exceed a revenue of 8.12 billion U.S. dollars in 2016, and 12.6 million people were employed in food service occupations in May 2015. caterfox helps clients thrive by growing clients’ business, providing organization and offering analytics. By dealing with the daily nuances and headaches of running a business, clients can focus on growing their business. As caterfox users, clients receive analytical breakdowns of how their catering services are performing.
“Caterers are busy. Their passion is for the best in client service, memorable food and an unmatched experience for clients,” said Maulik Suthar, co-founder of caterfox. “One area of constant pain is organization, workflow and scheduling. Typically, it’s a spreadsheet, written scribbles, text and phone calls or emails, or a combination thereof to make catering work, but we promise there is a better way.”
While there are a range of options when it comes to software for caterers,the caterfox system was carefully designed into a simple, easy-to-use application taking away extraneous “ingredients” that users don’t need. The caterfox team knows how busy professionals are in the catering space, which is why the caterfox software is minimal and approachable. Because the application is so streamlined and thoughtful, the caterfox team can also guarantee catering staff members will learn and comprehend the dashboard without needing to attend long training sessions.
“Our system lets you see how your sales are doing and get a clear snapshot of your business at all your locations,” noted Nishin Sura, co-founder of caterfox. “We strive to keep our dashboard uncluttered in order for users to get where they need to go with as little clicks as possible. We know how busy catering staff are which is why the design is minimal so as not to distract from the task at hand.”
OpenTable Updates GuestCenter
OpenTable announced details of major updates to its flagship restaurant management product GuestCenter. Designed to focus on availability and customization of the restaurant, the new functionality gives restaurateurs greater control over the number of diners they welcome through their doors and where they seat them. Including when they accept large parties and how they structure specific times within service, meaning they can seat more diners more efficiently.
The update also enables restaurants to show availability for non-traditional seating. Opening up bar-side, high-top, counter and outdoor areas for reservations, giving maximum choice to diners over where they are seated.
"The latest product enhancements to GuestCenter increase the value that restaurants can gain from working with OpenTable to more effectively manage their availability and streamline operations to seat more diners, control party sizes and accommodate those looking for a more unique dining experience," said Christa Quarles, CEO, OpenTable.
Quarles added, "We understand that restaurateurs are constantly juggling competing priorities and our goal is to help them operate more efficiently. They know when they want to make tables available, when they may receive more walk-ins, when they can accommodate large parties and when they have bar-side or outside space available. The enhancements to GuestCenter ensure these options can be easily implemented and made available to diners. Our technology ensures that operations are tailored to each restaurant's specific needs so that they can deliver great hospitality night after night."
The key benefits of the GuestCenter product updates to restaurants will include:
- Even greater control over the diner flow through each service period
- Categorization of table types to create additional availability by making bar-side, counter, high-top and outdoor seating bookable
- Define large party size seating times for bigger groups at times when the restaurant can best accommodate them
- Customization of shift periods within a service to offer different availability by peak and off-peak times
"I like to tinker a lot with my dining room setup and the new features in GuestCenter have been great for me. We've seen an increase in overall covers and we've been able to accommodate many more requests for large party sizes, while still keeping space open for walk-ins when we want it," said Ben Rogers, General Manager at The Promontory. "The product is intuitive and I've been able to give my host team more leeway and freedom to optimize availability."
Boston Pizza Goes Cutting Edge
Boston Pizza is reopening its Front and John location in Toronto on March 31, following an extensive renovation that showcases the brand's new design concept and market leading technology. The Front and John location became a corporately-owned restaurant a year ago and, in its newly redesigned format, will act as an urban flagship showing off the brand's new prototype, the first in a succession of new openings targeting Canada's urban market.
"Front and John is our first truly urban flagship restaurant and we believe there is a big opportunity for Boston Pizza to expand within downtown markets," said Alan Howie, Executive Vice President, Operations & Development, Boston Pizza International. "Many families live in downtown centres, in condos, and are looking for family-friendly restaurants that have something for everyone. In addition, urban areas are natural hubs for those interested in enjoying sporting events. Our dual concept of distinct and approachable sports bar and dining room under one roof is the perfect option."
Boston Pizza will pilot new technologies and projects at this location prior to rolling out to the rest of the chain. All new openings and renovations, whether urban, suburban, rural or non-traditional, will take design cues from this new prototype. This location is also one of the chain's largest restaurants at 11,000 square feet.
"Boston Pizza is known as Canada's sports bar where the game is always on and with this new redesign, the digital experience will impress sports fans and families alike," said Helen Langford, Senior Vice President, Food Services, Boston Pizza International. "Screens of all sizes throughout the restaurant will not only show all the important games, but will also feature local sports content, leader boards and other fun graphics to encourage guests to put down their phones and interact with the restaurant environment. The bright colour scheme, use of lighting and contemporary design materials, completely transforms the look and feel of Boston Pizza moving forward."
Some of the new features include:
- New Technology – in the near future, new technologies will be piloted at Front and John that elevate the guest experience and improve speed of service and efficiency, such as:
- Pay-at-Table will allow guests to check in with the MyBP app and pay their bill on their mobile device without waiting for the server to bring their cheque
- DineTime app will allow you to view wait times at all Boston Pizza locations near you, get on waiting lists or book reservations
- Courtesy phone charging outlets with USB ports located at tables and bars throughout the restaurant
Exterior Design: The exterior design is more contemporary and increases brand visibility with cleaner lines and glazed windows so everyone walking by can check out the action inside
Interior Design: Seating design is very flexible with modular segments for easy scalability so groups of every size can be accommodated A specially designated Team Room can accommodate private parties and sports teams or can function as an extension of the main restaurant
Take-Out and Delivery: A separate entrance off John Street will welcome guests wanting to pick-up their orders. The Front and John location will also feature a grab-and-go area so that thousands of fans attending sporting events at Rogers Centre or ACC will have a chance to pick-up some great food on their way to the game
Kitchen: Optimized kitchen environment for increase efficiency and reduction in energy consumption, especially in high-volume urban locations. Kitchen Video System (KVS 2.0) will allow the kitchen to more efficiently and quickly expedite guest orders and assist in training and there will be higher efficiency equipment and appliances.
With more than 380 locations coast to coast in Canada, the goal for 2017 is to open approximately 15 new locations. In addition to urban areas, Boston Pizza is also exploring additional non-traditional locations such as airports and hotels. The next urban project is slated to open this summer at Yonge St. and Gerrard in Toronto, as well as in the Edmonton Ice District and Ottawa's Glebe neighborhood.
Showmars Chooses PAR
ParTech, Inc. (PAR), said Showmars® Hospitality Group has selected PAR’s cloud-based Brink POS® Software. Showmars Hospitality Group, featuring a diverse mix of Greek, Southern, and American dishes, has served the Carolina region with fresh, made-to-order food in a casual and family friendly environment since 1982.
With 30 current locations and plans to expand in 2017, Showmars Hospitality Group realized they needed a robust technology solution to grow with their business and help create a better experience for their customers and employees. POS Technology/ BB&T Merchant Services LLC, a point of sale software provider and merchant acquirer, facilitated the process to identify software for Showmars Hospitality Group that would improve business efficiency, allow for better reporting, online ordering and reward customer loyalty.
“We knew that a cloud-based software solution was the direction we wanted to take. We decided on PAR because of their industry position, impressive client base and the adaptability of Brink, which allowed us to easily integrate with the systems we currently have in place,” said Konstantine Zitsos, President & CEO of Showmars Hospitality Group.
“We are impressed with the smooth implementation process. We had envisioned dedicating a lot of time to getting it up and running, but the PAR team has made the process seamless and we really didn’t have to do much,” said Dean Peroulas, General Partner, Showmars Hospitality Group. “We have received fantastic feedback from our employees, managers, and operators. The ability for managers to access reports remotely has really helped them remain close to their stores when they are not physically there.”
“We are excited that Showmars Hospitality Group has selected Brink for their growing business. Having multiple locations serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner required a Cloud POS that would allow them to customize the solution, easily make menu changes company wide, and run daily reports,” said Paul Rubin, Chief Strategy Officer, ParTech, Inc. “With plans for growth in 2017, we are confident that Brink will help make that a seamless process and we look forward to being a part of their success.”
EventForte VR Tour Launches
EventForte has announced the public launch of EventForte VR Tours for meetings and events to the Oculus Store. The app, which allows for three dimensional rendering of function spaces, had already been available on Apple, Android, and Windows 10 devices, and desktops.
This move makes EventForte’s event management platform the first ever major event platform to offer a virtual reality showcase feature. EventForte plans to follow up on this Oculus Store release with releases into other virtual reality stores in the coming months.
“VR technology is the next wave of consumer experience,” said Ankit Gupta, President of EventForte. “For event planners and their clients, we wanted to give them the experience of actually being inside a venue from the convenience of their home or office.”
Event planners now have the ability to show clients a more lifelike representation of their event space layouts, reducing the necessity for frequent site visits. The virtual reality platform allows users to immerse themselves in a real-life view of event diagrams and furniture layouts. A user can “walk around” either in first or third person mode using a humanoid in the venue, to get a feel of what it would be like to see and walk around the event in real life.
Star Micronics Teams with MunchOn
Star Micronics announced that MunchOn, a new online ordering platform, has added support for the TSP650IIcloudPRNT. MunchOn recently launched their solution to combine a point of sale and online ordering platform that sends orders directly from the cloud to the TSP650IIcloudPRNT receipt printer.
Star Micronics' TSP650IIcloudPRNT thermal printer will retrieve and print orders from any online service integrating Star's communication protocol. With MunchOn, restaurants can set up their online ordering service for customers to order either online or through their mobile phone, and the TSP650IIcloudPRNT will print the order in restaurant directly from the cloud. MunchOn specializes in helping these restaurants by giving them the ability to market, receive and fulfill online orders to increase revenue.
"The Star TSP650IIcloudPRNT was the perfect fit for our restaurant online ordering platform," says James Russo, Co-Founder of MunchOn. "Once integrated, we had the solution working in restaurants only one day later. We were able to work with restaurants who had never even considered online ordering before, and help them grow their business with the MunchOn and Star Micronics solutions."
LibDib Launches First Web-Based Three-Tier Alcohol Distribution Platform
Alcohol distribution has not changed since the inception of the three-tier system at the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. Today, a new path to distribution is available to beverage alcohol suppliers with the unveiling of Liberation DistributionTM (LibDibTM), the first alcohol distributor and technology company to offer a three-tier compliant web-based platform. With LibDib, any maker of specialty wine, craft spirits and micro brews can easily set up distribution.
“Distributor and producer consolidation has created a closed market where the little guys cannot get their product into distribution and accounts are being squeezed to purchase beer, wine and craft spirits from the very largest suppliers,” said LibDib Founder and CEO, Cheryl Durzy, a 20-year wine industry veteran. “While managing my family’s brand I became incredibly frustrated by the lack of options available today. All brands deserve a route to market and LibDib creates an opportunity where makers and buyers can work directly together. LibDib is distribution done differently and distribution that’s open to everyone, not just a select few.”
Makers can visit LibDib.com and input their products of choice into the system. After uploading licenses and basic information, the maker defines product selection, calculates the listed wholesale price and defines where to distribute. Transactions on the LibDib platform will go live in California on April 5, 2017, allowing restaurants, bars and retailers in the state to order from makers of any size and from any location, whether down the street or from across the globe. Anyone interested in the LibDib platform can create an account and sign up starting today. Due to price posting in New York, transactions will go live in the coming months.
The LibDib web-based platform automatically handles the invoicing, payment processing, collections and taxes, allowing both makers and retailers to do business in a more open, efficient and cost effective way. The company has been beta testing with a select group of makers and on and off premise accounts over the past few months.
“The alcohol distribution market hasn’t changed for more than eighty years and is ripe for innovation,” said LibDib CTO, Richard Brashears, a twenty-year technology industry veteran who specializes in defining and developing complex software. “Just as the hotel and transportation industries have evolved with two-sided web and mobile platforms, LibDib has used technology to change the distribution process and make it easier, more cost effective and more efficient than ever before.”
In addition to using technology to create a new system for distribution, LibDib is also implementing market friendly business practices such as:
- Charging a lower margin for makers with most transactions at 15 percent.
- Processing payments in 30 days or less and providing on-demand sales reports.
- Giving makers as much freedom from Franchise Laws as legally allowable, enabling them to leave at-will and at no cost.
- Giving restaurants, bars and retailers a large and varied selection of boutique products from which to choose.
- Enabling direct communication within the platform between makers and accounts.
- Creating a level playing field for everyone with no unfair incentives or price breaks.
- No aging inventory sitting at the wholesaler warehouses.
- Eliminating the middle man and any potential for a sales representative to strong-arm the sales process.
- Allowing RB&Rs to buy only what they want, when they want it. No minimums.
- Giving access to unique, local and limited availability wines, craft spirits and beers.
- Sales materials and POS are always up to date and accessible online.
Potbelly Celebrates New App
Potbelly Sandwich Shop now offers a new app for fans of the neighborhood sandwich shop known for toasty warm, made-to-order sandwiches, freshly baked cookies and live, local music.
Available now for both Android and iPhone, the free app lets customers save time and jump the line with mobile pay and mobile ordering for pick-up and delivery. Customers who download the new app will receive a free cookie when they register for Potbelly Perks. Through the Potbelly Perks program, customers earn a “smile” for every $2 spent through the app that can be redeemed for tasty treats. Customers can earn fun status levels, like Cookie Rookie, with personalized perks, Sandwich Superstar, with invitations to exclusive events and access to an underground menu, and Menu Master, with the permanent perk of a free cookie with any purchase from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
“Potbelly loves being our customer’s neighborhood sandwich shop, providing good vibes and great food. Our new app is another way to offer our customers personalization and convenience on their terms,” said Dana Dimitri, Sr. Director of Integrated Marketing and Customer Engagement. “We’re also very excited to now be able to give our loyal customers fun perks through the new app.”
The app also allows customers to customize their meals, find their nearest Potbelly location and send digital gift cards. The free cookie offer can be automatically redeemed when new users download the app and register for the Potbelly Perks program. Customers can also sign up for Potbelly Perks online.
Dunkin' Offers Waze
Dunkin' Donuts customers can now use Waze, the free, real-time crowdsourced traffic and navigation app powered by the world's largest community of drivers. Dunkin' Donuts has become the first partner for Waze's new feature, "Order Ahead," which lets Wazers save time in line by submitting orders in the Dunkin' Donuts Mobile App.
With the Order Ahead feature, Dunkin' Donuts and Waze are making the route to Dunkin' faster and easier than ever for DD Perks members, creating a seamless experience allowing users, before beginning their trip, to use Waze to pinpoint the nearest Dunkin' Donuts restaurant and tap a single button to launch On-the-Go Ordering within the Dunkin' Mobile® App. To utilize Waze's new Order Ahead feature, Dunkin' Donuts guests must update their Dunkin' Mobile App for their for iPhone, iPod touch and Android smartphones.
"We are proud to be the first brand to integrate with Waze to enhance the mobile experience and offer our DD Perks members with faster, more convenient ways for ordering ahead," said Scott Hudler, Chief Digital Officer at Dunkin' Brands. "Loyalty is the main focus for all that we do at Dunkin' Donuts. Leveraging the best technologies and partnering with leading brands like Waze helps our brand continue to stand apart for valuing our loyal guests and providing them with exciting and innovative new ways to purchase Dunkin' Donuts food and beverages as quickly and seamlessly as possible."
"Our new Order Ahead feature expands Waze's mission of saving time on the road by enabling consumers to now also save time in-store, while giving brands a new opportunity to engage with their customers," said Jordan Grossman, Head of Business Partnerships North America at Waze. "We're excited to launch this feature with Dunkin' Donuts, a long-standing partner of ours, and look forward to rolling it out with more brand advertisers in the near future to further personalize the driving experience for Wazers saving them time and money."
Dunkin' Donuts has been a long-standing partner with Waze since first mapping all of its restaurant locations through the app in 2012. In 2016, Dunkin' Donuts became the first company to utilize the Favorite Brand Campaign that invites Wazers to "favorite" the brand through native-style ad units with the tap of a button.
Forager Launches Local Platform
Forager™ unveiled a new digital platform to help buyers and producers tap into the burgeoning local food market, just as spring knocks on our door and a new growing season begins.
Driven by consumers who want "real, unadulterated food," and not products with additives and preservatives that have been shipped from coast to coast, this $14 billion market is taking flight. With more than 90 percent of consumers choosing food for its freshness, and 40 percent shopping for local foods every week, opportunities abound for grocers, co-ops, food services, wholesalers, and farmers/producers to offer more local products. Forager's new online and mobile procurement-to-payment platform is designed to reduce costs and friction at every step of the process, making it so much easier to source locally. The company has already completed a successful regional pilot involving 100 farmers and 10 grocers, food-co-ops and wholesalers from Maine. Now they are rolling out the platform throughout New England and New York State.
"We believe that local food can change the world by reducing our dependency on big industrial agriculture, improving our environmental impact, creating more local jobs, making us healthier, and bringing people together. Yet, only three percent of the food we consume is local, and eight large companies control 80 percent of our food supply. By breaking down barriers to local sourcing, we hope to fan the flames of a local food revolution," said David D. Stone, Forager's CEO and founder.
Forager digitizes the entire sourcing and sales process to make it easier and faster to share local foods. For buyers, the traditional process of finding and doing business with multiple local farmers/producers, versus a few big distributors, has historically been expensive, inefficient, manual, and error-prone. As a result, they spend up to 60 hours per week on processes such as communicating with farmers, purchasing and order management, and payments, which can reduce their margins by 33 percent or more.
Farmers/producers, too, struggle with inefficient processes—from sharing their products and updating their availability, to invoicing and depositing payments, 99 percent of which are paper checks. Forager enables them to expose buyers to their full range of products in real time (improving sales opportunities), even with a smartphone in the field, while speeding up billing and payments.
"Forager has made a big difference to our local sourcing process. As a result, we estimate we save at least six to eight percent in labor costs. We have been waiting for a service like this for a long time," said John Crane, General Manager, Portland Food Co-op.
"The Forager platform has made it easier for us to keep buyers informed about our product availability, saved us time bookkeeping, and helped us keep a clear online trail of our transactions," said Margaret (Meg) Mitchell, owner of South Paw Farm in Freedom, Maine.